CEU remains best deal among state schools

Only college not asking for second-tier tuition increase
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2007 - 12:00am

Attending the College of Eastern Utah continues to be the best deal in Utah's nine-public college higher education system as administrators decided not to increase second-tier tuition for students in the 2007-08 academic year. It is the only college to not ask for a second-tier tuition increase in the state.

Most colleges have not agreed exactly upon what they will ask students to pay for tuition next fall, but CEU is adamant about not increasing the second-tier tuition for its students. Southern Utah University and Dixie State College are seeking the largest increase with a projected 5-6 percent request at SUU and DSC seeking at least a 10 percent increase. Salt Lake Community College is expected to increase two percent with Snow College also seeking a two percent increase.

"First-tier tuition is set by the Board of Regents to cover faculty and staff pay increases. Second-tier is allowed for institutional priorities," said Vice President of Finances Kevin Walthers.

 "Increasing tuition beyond what the Regents require for salaries places a burden on schools like CEU to fulfill their comprehensive community college mission," he added.

"Dixie State College was recently identified as one of the lowest cost four-year schools in the nation. Students at CEU can get the same lower-division credit from Ph.D.- trained faculty for nearly 20 percent less," Walthers said.

At the annual tuition hearing on March 5 in the Reeves Building, CEU President Ryan Thomas told a mostly student audience that the outside number [for fees] students would be charged is $183.70, which is the fee proposal of the Price campus. "I am inclined to try to cut that back so the increase is closer to $8 and $13 to get it down to the four percent so that it will be more welcomed by the [Board of] Regents. And how we get it down will likely be altered by whether the Burtenshaw fee will have to be retained, whether the fee will be cut or some portion retained.

ASCEU President Aaron Hales asked the president when he planned to have the dorm bonds paid off.

"We have a number of things that we are looking at right now. Kevin [Walthers] and Brad King have been asked to review any funds that we might have. We have a very tight budget institutionally, that is no surprise to anyone here. The primary sources of savings in our budget are unfilled faculty positions from one year to the next. Sometimes over time   there will be money that might accumulate and we'll look at those possibilities, look to see if there are any other sources of funding. We don't have at this point Aaron, a really good alternative. If we have a clearly identified alternative, obviously we would have it paid off," Thomas said.

He commented on the fees candidly being the most subject to question with those in a percentage different than other campuses. "Our student activity fee is above the average student activity fees around the state. We have suggested a 4.25 percent increase, that's one we probably need to look at because again, something that takes CEU above the norm is probably going to be subject to question."

"Our computer fee is the lowest in the system, our intramural fees are very low, our athletic fees are the lowest in the system. The student center bond is not much can do with and health and wellness were on the low end of those fees. That would be true of the BDAC on this campus. Most of these fees probably fall well within what would be the standard   across the state. There are just a few that are above. The legacy [fee] is different only in that there are not corresponding fees of that nature at other campuses. The student activity fee that is common to other campuses is on the high end of the system. Those are the ones that we will try to keep.

We are trying to keep those that are within sort of the average or below in place and those that exceed that average, we will probably look at those.

The president told the students that "they are welcome to make a recommendation, obviously that yours may not be the same as mine."

"Our fees are not set locally, they are set by the [Board of] Regents and we finally are subject to their review of fees. And that tends to be a review of processes and that tends to be comparative," he said.

"What we are trying to do is get within the Regents practice of the four percent increase," he continued.

Combining tuition and fees, CEU is a better bargain than it was five years ago, reported the 2006-07 Student Guide to Utah's Colleges and Universities. At $2,090, it charges the lowest tuition and fees in the state. Five years ago, it was second lowest in the state at $1,466 per year, with Snow the best bargain at $1,312.

This year Snow College charges the second lowest tuition and fees in Utah at $2,164, followed by Salt Lake Community College at $2,404, Dixie State College at $2,492, and Utah Valley State College at $3,308.

Weber State University charges $3,434, Southern Utah University charges $3,564, Brigham Young University charges $3,620, Utah State University charges $3,948, University of Utah charges $4,662, and Westminster College charges $21,030.

Over the five-year time period, BYU's tuition and fees went up 23 percent, followed by CEU at 43 percent, Westminster 53 percent, U of U 61 percent, WSU 62 percent, USU 64 percent, Snow College 65 percent, DSC 68 percent and SUU 73 percent.

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